back to article I can 'proceed without you', judge tells Julian Assange after courtroom outburst

Julian Assange has been told to hold his tongue and not interrupt court proceedings by a judge as he contests US attempts to extradite him from Britain to stand trial over his WikiLeaks website. During the cross-examination of human rights lawyer Clive Stafford-Smith, one of Assange’s own witnesses in his extradition trial, …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What a weapon...

    Of mass distraction. Just how Russia likes them

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: What a weapon...

      I'd agree with you, but quite honestly, does anyone really care anymore?

      1. Francis Fish

        Re: What a weapon...

        A man is being tortured with solitary confinement and might be facing a death sentence for the crime of exposing war crimes

        You don't care?

        Well, how nice for you

  2. Cynic_999 Silver badge

    Blackmailed

    How can any fair court place any trust in the testimony of a man who was threatened with having his child abducted unless he told the FBI what they wanted to hear?

    1. katrinab Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Blackmailed

      The purpose of this hearing is not to decide whether he is innocent or guilty, it is to decide whether there is a valid case to answer in a US court. The US court would make the decision on innocence or guilt.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Blackmailed

        There needs to be a prima facie case for extradition for each charge. If the case for some of those charges depends on tainted evidence than should extradition for those particular charges be approved?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Blackmailed

          Whatever the approach, the tainted elements should be removed from consideration.

          Unfortunately for Assange, there's enough left for an extradition on criminal grounds.

          1. JetSetJim Silver badge
            Joke

            Re: Blackmailed

            Meh, he only broke the law in a limited and specific fashion. Leave him be

        2. JohnG Silver badge

          Re: Blackmailed

          "There needs to be a prima facie case for extradition for each charge."

          Under the UK - US extradition treaty, the UK is obliged to demonstrate "probable cause", whereas the US has to show "reasonable suspicion", both of which are considerably less than presenting a prima facie case.

        3. hoola Bronze badge

          Re: Blackmailed

          You mean like the case of Ann Sacoolas,

          Kill someone an innocent person by dangerous driving, be told not to leave the country then hide behind diplomatic immunity and piss of back to the US.

          If anyone should be extradited it should be her.

          1. JetSetJim Silver badge

            Re: Blackmailed

            Several papers are reporting today that she didn't have diplomatic immunity. Quote from the metro:

            The parents of Harry Dunn have been told by the Director of Public Prosecutions that his alleged killer did not have diplomatic immunity when she fled the UK

            Not been reported in more reputable sources, but we'll see

            1. sed gawk Silver badge

              Re: Blackmailed

              She didn't have immunity as the indefatigable Craig Murray has reported.

              There is a list of registered people with immunity, she's not on it.

              The facts are plain our government allows people to come here, spy on us, kill us, and flee with impunity.

              https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2019/10/the-foreign-office-must-be-challenged-over-sacoolas-immunity/

              1. jake Silver badge

                Re: Blackmailed

                One person is not "people". Inflating the issue doesn't make your argument better, it merely makes you look smaller.

                For the record, I think the cowardly drunk needs to be returned to Blighty for trial ... but I also think it's a completely different case than the one we are supposedly discussing in this comments section. Trying to talk about the two together, as if they somehow have anything to do with each other, dilutes both issues.

                1. sed gawk Silver badge

                  Re: Blackmailed

                  -On the contrary, the cases are indeed linked, given they are both political in nature.

                  "Inflating the issue doesn't make your argument better, it merely makes you look smaller."

                  You're welcome to your opinion, care to address the points you walked away from during our last discussion, while we're discussing "looking smaller".

                  One person is not "people". Am I to understand it is your contention that this is a one off, an abberation, in the unblemished record of the US wiping it's feet on the laws of countries around the world, and Britain. E.g. funding IRA attacks that nearly took out the government of Thatcher, Funding the Irgun. Prove it, there are at least 15 incidents related to that base alone, https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-northamptonshire-51209882

                  Funny enough the best place to find them is in US media , here's one - https://www.stripes.com/news/wife-children-of-mildenhall-airman-killed-in-car-crash-1.12166 From that source

                  The crash was the third involving fatalities from the base in recent months along the same stretch of road. Staff Sgt. Gerald Nicholls, 32, was killed in a two-car crash on March 7. Andrew Waxler, the husband of an airman at the base, was killed two weeks later in a one-car accident on a foggy morning.

                  Remind me what the plural of person is ?

                  The only thing that has changed in recent times, is everyone has a camera and access to some sort of web publishing. Previously a D-Notice would be put out and that would be the end of the coverage.

                  It's been going on for a long time, and until the rule of law counts for something here and in the US, it will keep happening as the craven government bends the knee and averts its gaze.

                  The political behaviour of our craven government, is why Assange is being broken on the wheel.

                  Indeed his case turns on proving it's politically motivated, and therefore a violation of the extradition treaty.

                  The drunk is not the problem, the problem was the Foreign Sec, allowed this to happen, and betrayed his country. The US is used to shitting on local people throughout the world, and the only issue here is that some people are mug enough to think that doesn't include us, despite all evidence to the country.

                  In this case the US is not at fault for protecting it's citizen, it's us, Britain, which must hang it's head in shame at this utter betrayal of the most basic duty of government.

                  Assange, is being persecuted for publishing, he's denied a full defence. I'm surprised you don't care more, after all this entire thread is about people arguing about the life of a white guy.

                  One would have thought you'd be up in arms about it, or maybe "all lives don't matter" and really we should just shut up and suck it up.

                  Being an apologist for evil is wrong, stop it. My country right or wrong, is the language of fools.

                  The cases show as Brits we swapped sides in a colonial relationship, some of us noticed.

                  1. jake Silver badge

                    Re: Blackmailed

                    "In this case the US is not at fault for protecting it's citizen, it's us, Britain, which must hang it's head in shame at this utter betrayal of the most basic duty of government."

                    Then why on Earth are you (and many other Brits in this forum) spending so much time berating the US, which will have no effect on anything whatsoever, as you are not US voters (not that it would matter if you were, I doubt US politicians even know ElReg exists, much less care a whit about the opinions of us conmmentards) .... Shirley you should be spending your time and effort doing something meaningful about your own government if you are honestly all that passionate about it?

                    1. sed gawk Silver badge
                      Pint

                      Re: Blackmailed

                      Re berating the US, I responded to the guff spewed forth by cliffwilliams about the US being the worlds policemen. I don't blame the American people for their government, anymore than I accept responsibility for Bozo and Jaj Jaj of the jaundiced gillet. The US has real power, it could make things better for the world, shit it could start with making life better for its own people. Forgive me for the stan lee quote, but "with great power comes high electric bills*"

                      The behaviour of the British Government is deeply shameful, we have people standing up in Parliament and saying that international treaties no longer bind us, our word is worth shit.

                      That's tragic, for us. Unfortunately, we are completely powerless, the US has checks and balances, fwtaw, we have none, The PM can and will do whatever he likes, and there is nothing we can do about it.

                      Indeed the more extreme the behaviour, the more entrenched people have become. We are cheerleading the destruction of the GFA..

                      The Assange case is just a particular egregious case, and the brazen nature of it offends people.

                      I agree it will not change the results in the US, but should we be complicit and silent?

                      We have hippies protesting a printing plant, being called "an organised crime group". We're screwed here..

                      Have a drink with me, we can agree that governments are gits..

                  2. jake Silver badge
                    Pint

                    Re: Blackmailed

                    "care to address the points you walked away from"

                    Circular arguments are circular. Addressed anyway. I doubt you'll understand, primarily because I don't think you really want to.

                    Edited ... prior version was typoed in a hurry. Apologies. Have a beer.

                    1. sed gawk Silver badge
                      Pint

                      Re: Blackmailed

                      @jake actually this was what I was getting at..

                      Re: Interesting note from the field.

                      But lets shelve all that shit, and crack a few beers.. enough jaw jaw..

                      1. jake Silver badge

                        Re: Blackmailed

                        Shelved.

                        I rather suspect that if the entire planet sat down and had a beer together, 99+% of us would toss the other <1% into the nearest ocean and we'd all be quite a bit better off ...

                        1. sed gawk Silver badge

                          Re: Blackmailed

                          Mate, I'll drink to that.

                          Btw I like the koan, where is it from?

                          1. Lotaresco Silver badge

                            Re: Blackmailed

                            "Mate, I'll drink to that.

                            Btw I like the koan, where is it from?"

                            You will find that mate is the national beverage of Argentina and several other South American states. Also quite popular in Lebanon.

                            1. jake Silver badge

                              Re: Blackmailed

                              You'll find that maté is a fairly common choice among so-called "natural tea" aficionados here in the United States, too. You can find it in everything from the traditional dried, chopped up yerba maté brewed with hot water, to typical Yank cold & fizzy & saturated with sugar.

                          2. jake Silver badge

                            Re: Blackmailed

                            I probably first read that koan in Sand and Pebbles back in the '70s ... from what I remember it is from the collection called Sasekishū put together by Mujū in the late 13th century.

          2. Katy_B

            Re: Blackmailed

            I'm sorry but you have misunderstood the point of the UK-US extradition treaty. Whatever the wording is, it never, in fact, applies to American citizens.

            It's a bit like the war crimes investigations into American soldiers in Afghanistan. You don't try to charge US soldiers with war crimes and if you even think of it the USA will put personal sanctions on any judge at the Hague who tries.

      2. smalldot

        Re: Blackmailed

        US Espionage Act only only needs an answer whether secret information was published or not. Obviously Wikileaks participated in publishing of that information, which means there is no defence for Assange in US court. Assange is on his way from one court of clowns to another.

        1. katrinab Silver badge

          Re: Blackmailed

          For the extradition hearing, they need to show that what he is accused of is illegal in England or some other part of the UK.

          1. JohnG Silver badge

            Re: Blackmailed

            "For the extradition hearing, they need to show that what he is accused of is illegal in England or some other part of the UK."

            Sadly, this is not the case. As was seen with the NatWest Three, the UK - US extradition treaty allows the extradition of UK residents whose alleged crimes were acts carried out while they were in the UK and were acts that are not illegal in the UK.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Blackmailed

              were acts that are not illegal in the UK.

              In what way were their acts not illegal in the UK? They were UK employees of NatWest, and attempted to defraud NatWest, by selling NatWest's stake in a dodgy Enron business to a shell company in which they had shares, which then sold it to Enron for 20x what it paid, letting the three pocket $7m between them. It's clear that they & their banker friends have justified themselves by claiming that what they did was only immoral, not illegal, but as the saying goes "they would say that, wouldn't they".

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Blackmailed

          Apologies for the pedantry but I don't believe Assange is prosecuted for the publication of the information. He is prosecuted for (allegedly) being complicit in stealing the information.

          A lot of this information was published collectively by a consortium of media including (from the top of my head) El País, The Guardian, Wikileaks, New York Times and Der Spiegel. None of those publications or their journalists have been in legal trouble over the publication of these files.

          1. Cederic Silver badge

            Re: Blackmailed

            No, no legal trouble at all. Nothing that traceable, transparent or honest.

            https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/jan/31/footage-released-guardian-editors-snowden-hard-drives-gchq

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Blackmailed

              You know the Snowden case is unrelated, right?

              Besides, Snowden was a government contractor (like Chelsea Manning) and so at the very least broke their employment contract and a bunch of other rules. People working for The Guardian, Der Spiegel, Wikileaks, El Pais etc. were not US government contractors. That makes the legal situation very different from Snowden's and Manning's.

              Besides, what happened at The Guardian was not a function of American law. It was a function of the UK being a US vassal state and the Cameron government wanting to suck up to its boss.

              1. Cliffwilliams44

                Re: Blackmailed

                Manning was not a contractor. He was an Army enlisted man.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Blackmailed

                  *she

                  1. Mark Exclamation

                    Re: Blackmailed

                    At the time, "she" was a "he".

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: Blackmailed

                      That's not how it works.

                      Chelsea was *always* a she (quote from wiki "since childhood" ). That the body didn't match at the time, nor how she was treated/conditioned to behave, is not relevant to her being a 'she'.

                      If she had *never* come out as trans, she would still be a woman. I'll compare it to being gay - a gay person is still gay, even if they don't tell anyone.

                      Not knowing, or making certain assumptions towards cis/het norms is understandable, and to some extent, forgivable.

                      While gender fluidity *is* a thing, this is not that.

                      1. Jaybus

                        Re: Blackmailed

                        And yet Manning's own defense claimed it to be a "gender identity disorder that may have affected Manning's judgement".

                        1. Anonymous Coward
                          Anonymous Coward

                          Re: Blackmailed

                          Having depression or anxiety brought on by gender dysphoria can affect your judgement. Dysphoria that might be caused by having to live as a male, when you feel you are not a male.

                          I don't see your implied contradiction.

                          Homosexuality used to be considered a mental illness and a crime. Still is, in less civilised places. Just ask Alan Turing.

                          Coming to terms with the fact one might not be cis/het can cause all sorts of mental health issues. Compare "gender identity disorder" with "struggling with [your] sexuality".

              2. Cederic Silver badge

                Re: Blackmailed

                You know the Snowden case is unrelated, right?

                I refer you to the article to which we're responding: "Assange is also accused of committing crimes by helping US National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden"

                Besides, what happened at The Guardian was not a function of American law

                Well, no. That was rather my point.

              3. JCitizen Bronze badge
                Meh

                Re: Blackmailed

                Well, at least Snowden has a District court case in his favor so far. I'm wondering if it will go to the SCOTUS next.

        3. skwdenyer

          Re: Blackmailed

          Does not the US Espionage Act require an offence to have been carried out within their jurisdiction? Or is it equipped with a "wires" clause?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Blackmailed

            You must be new here. It's a US law, which means they deem it to apply worldwide. The US doesn't care much about sovereignty unless it's their own.

      3. martinusher Silver badge

        Re: Blackmailed

        You obviously don't know how the Federal court system works. The odds are stacked against any defendant, especially in 'national security' cases. He's toast.

        But then that's the point. Its not about justice, truth or anything like that, its about 'pour encourager les autres'.....just in case anyone else gets any bright ideas about disseminating information in the future.

        (Yes, as a matter fact I am an American......we keep away from Federal law enforcement for our own good.)

        1. katrinab Silver badge
          Meh

          Re: Blackmailed

          This is an explanation about how the English legal system works, which is what is relevant when you are sitting on the dock at Westminster Magistrates Court.

        2. Ruisert

          Re: Blackmailed

          American justice is the finest money can buy. And the U.S. Gov. prints all it needs. If they get him over here, he'll be fucked sideways and every other way.

      4. big_D Silver badge

        Re: Blackmailed

        Yes, but if the testimony was illegally obtained, it is not allowed as evidence. And duress is, I believe, still illegal in the UK, if not the US.

        1. Peter2 Silver badge

          Re: Blackmailed

          In the USA evidence gathered illegally is not admissible as evidence, but in the UK evidence before the court is evidence regardless of how it got there, although it may open the person bringing illegally obtained information to criminal charges (it being used in court being an admission of guilt and all given that you've proven that you've got it.)

          Technically speaking in the UK if you were a sole parent then I think they would just have jailed you for the term and if the children went into care then that's part of the "if you can't do the time, don't do the crime" approach we take. I don't think we allow for plea bargains where somebody who's been caught can not get the time if they decide to identify their accomplices.

          But if the Americans did do that, then plea bargains are legal in America and so information produced as a result of one wouldn't be inadmissible in evidence.

          1. Cliffwilliams44

            Re: Blackmailed

            The testimony of the hacker is completely admissible in US Courts. The police and prosecutors can lie to you, threaten you with legal action, threaten you family with legal action including taking you children away to get you to talk. It happens every day. This is the real justice problem in the US that no one wants to talk about. It happens to young black men every day.

            1. freedom fighting pensioner

              Re: Blackmailed

              Well said Cliff.

            2. Martin-73 Silver badge

              Re: Blackmailed

              Yes, I was witness to that in the US. It rather ruined my love of the country.

              I did, however, get away with telling a rather obnoxious cop to go f*** himself a few days later when his sgt decided we were in the right.

            3. Jaybus

              Re: Blackmailed

              And everyone has the right to legal representation, free legal representation if they haven't any money. A plea bargain must be reviewed and approved by a judge. So, no, I don't buy that so many defense attorneys fall for that on a daily basis.

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